Taipei — A Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet was established by Taiwanese national legislators, to collaborate and consolidate efforts to highlight the issue of Tibet in Taiwan as well as on the international stage.
A group of Taiwanese and Tibetan lawmakers held a press conference at the Taiwanese parliamentary building on Friday, October 7, to announce the formation of a new Taiwanese parliamentary group for Tibet.
Taiwanese lawmaker Mr Freddy Lim, Chair of the Taiwanese parliamentary group for Tibet, explained the aims and objectives for establishing this parliamentary group.
Lim who serves as Tibet Support group president — also said that more than 30 legislators had agreed to affiliate themselves with the group.
He said that this parliamentary group is a bipartisan group of parliamentarians from across the Taiwanese political spectrum who will collaborate and consolidate efforts to highlight the issue of Tibet in Taiwan as well as on the international stage.
The New Power Party (NPP) legislator Lim extended the invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit in Dharamshala, India on September 5, along with his colleague from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Kolas Yotaka.
Ms Xiao Mei Ching, Vice-chair of the parliamentary group, said that she has attended the World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet several times and expressed her continued support for Tibet.
The chief guest at the press conference was Mr Dawa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet based in Taipei. He thanked the Taiwanese parliamentarians for their support to Tibet and said that the Tibet issue is not restricted to independence or the Middle Way alone.
According to him, it is also about minority rights, sinicisation of Tibet through population influx, destruction of Tibet's environment, human rights, religious freedom and cultural preservation. Mr Tsering also suggested that all these issues need to be looked into with a special focus.
"I am honestly not entirely sure what the difference is between a 'parliamentary group' and the past 'working group,' but the 'working group' was established by only two or three legislators," Tsering, told the Taipei Times.
Members of the Tibetan Parliament Mr Lobsang Dakpa and Ms Tsering Lhamo, who were specially invited by the Taiwanese parliamentary group for Tibet, also addressed the press conference. They explained the political situation of Tibet and called for a collective effort to raise the issue of Tibet and more collaboration between the Tibetan and Taiwanese parliaments.
"Establishing this group has been my dream for more than four years," said Tashi Tsering, a Tibetan leader of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, which Lim said provided the key impetus for establishing the group.
Tsering also expressed support for abolishing the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, a vestige of the Republic of China's claims to sovereignty over Mongolia and Tibet.
"As Tibetan human rights have degenerated in recent years and many people have self-immolated, the commission has not done anything — no events or actions whatsoever and not a penny of money for the cause of Tibetan human rights," he said, calling the commission "useless."
"They use the banner of Tibet to take a lot of money from Taiwanese taxpayers, but we have no idea how they spend it," he stressed.
Ms Gu Laxi, Ms Yui Mei Ngul and Mr Ton Yi Kang, members of the Taiwanese parliament also spoke at the press conference. The Thank you speech was delivered by Mr Tashi Tsering, President of Tibetan community.
"Establishing this group has been my dream for more than four years," said Tashi Tsering, from the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, which Lim said provided the key impetus for establishing the group.
A delegation of Taiwanese parliamentarians led by Mr Lim visited the Central Tibetan Administration in September. During their visit, they met Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and other leaders of the Tibetan community in Dharamshala.
The newly formed Taiwanese parliamentary group for Tibet has more than 30 members from various Taiwanese political parties including the New Power Party, Kuomintang party, Democratic Progressive Party.